Alnmouth WI, January meeting

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VENUE CHANGE: Because of heating problems and realising we may be a bit chilly in our usual venue, the Hindmarsh Hall, after a hasty phone call Alnmouth WI’s first meeting of the year was held in the Old Chapel.

We were made very welcome and after help from our local PO and shops, telling whichever member went in, of our relocation and hasty posters dotted around, I don’t think any of our members went missing.

It took Pam a little while to get order (she didn’t have the WI bell) as everyone was full of chat after not seeing each other over the festivities, but she made it (she’s got a strong voice and great patience).

After Pam, warmly welcomed everyone, instead of Jean reading the minutes, as November was our last full meeting and December our Christmas party, she just made them available to any who cared to read them, quickly going through the correspondence reminding us, that it was resolution time again and we needed to vote for whichever one we felt strongly about. As they had been itemised in our WI Life, last month we were well versed as to which one was our personal choice.

We have two up and coming trips to the theatre, Calendar Girls in Sunderland and The Full Monty at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle, so as Pam had previously put lists out, she reminded members who were interested, to add their names, to enable the booking and pricing of transport. There were also reminders from Pat Horn, giving everyone the new date for the Hotspur Players postponed Panto April 1 and 2, and Mary Hollins’ ‘Palace of Varieties’ on March 12. We certainly are a cultured lot.

Brother Jason, newly appointed Guardian of The Friary of St Frances, our speaker for the afternoon, was very patiently waiting whilst all this was going on, but he said with very good grace, when introduced by Pam, that he had quite enjoyed it.

He began by telling us a little of himself, and the First Order of St Francis which was very interesting indeed. It was started at the time of the 1930s Depression by Douglas Dow, an Oxford Priest setting up hostels for the homeless looking for work, involving people from all walks of life.

Now, of course, there are St Franciscian Brothers working in most parts of the world particularly with those on the ‘edge of society.’

Throughout the UK, Brothers are found working with the disadvantaged, in areas such as the east end of London, Leeds and even Newcastle, where Brother Alan Michael, the former Guardian of The Friary, now Vicar of St Peter’s, Cowgate is very involved in this work. His talk was full of compassion and humour and I think we all enjoyed hearing what he had to tell us.

Judi Hill thanked him on our behalf, and I am sure we will be taking up his invitation to take tea at The Friary one of these days (hopefully not all together).

The birthday girl was ‘the writer’ and I received a beautiful plant which is a bit of a consolation given I am now a year older and after a cup of tea and a choice of lovely small cakes, our afternoon ended.